We’re welcoming Alexandra Terry to the Foodadit team with her new series – Embody. As a Transformational Coach, she believes in helping us make small shifts to our everyday lives that contribute to a bigger picture. This could be anything from eating differently, making your own beauty products to becoming aware of limiting beliefs – simple acts of empowerment that nourish our well being.
From a young age, Alexandra experienced body image issues – after working on her own personal growth and with the support of her family and friends, she now feels comfortable sharing her experience with others. With Foodadit, she is opening up a dialogue on positive body image with a range of empowered women as part of her Embody series, so that others can do the same.
What first interested you about health?
When I was young my parents became very interested in organic and natural eating, and holistic health care, so I grew up in an ‘alternative’ household. I loved it, but I knew it was different. My packed lunch at school didn’t look like anyone else’s, with thick brown sandwich bread, and fruit leather instead of fruit rollups.
When I moved to London to get my masters in curating I shifted away from that lifestyle by default. I wasn’t surrounded by people who were engaged in that way of life and I had very little expendable income. My brother then moved to London for his masters, and that really made me realise how much I missed making health and wellness a daily priority, because we share those same values. He would be fermenting food in our kitchen, or we would visit the apothecary together to get supplies for a herbal remedy. Yes it can be expensive to live or eat a certain way and it takes more time to prepare good, healthy food, but it’s important to me.
Can you tell me about your own relationship with your body image?
From the age of seven or eight I started becoming overweight. And I’ve also always been quite tall, I’m 5’11”, so I always felt big in comparison to my girlfriends. I constantly received visual messages that my body type didn’t fit within Western society’s idea of feminine beauty and it challenged and still challenges my self-worth.
I am blessed to have an incredibly loving and supportive family who encouraged my self expression and taught me that personal value is about so much more than appearance. However, when it came to my insecurities around my body I didn’t feel comfortable discussing it, or even know what to say. I was never told or made to feel explicitly like I was wrong or bad – I was always appreciated for who I was and what I did, but my family had their own concerns about my weight.
I believe there is strength in community and strength in honesty. If we want to create change we must be honest.
The more confident I’ve become and the more I’ve endeavoured to own and love every part of myself, and to focus on health rather than size, the more I’ve wanted to share my own struggles and questions. I believe there is strength in community and strength in honesty. If we want to create change we must be honest.
What effect do you think those around us have?
A huge effect! I am so grateful to have very present and supportive family and friends. A lot of people have no one to talk to and some have a lot of pressure from their family to be a certain way.
When we’re young we see how people look at themselves in the mirror and hear how they talk about their body and we can unknowingly take that on.
It’s so important to have positive role models. Not just people who tell you that you’re worthy and beautiful as you are, but people you see who have a healthy relationship with their body. When we’re young we see how people look at themselves in the mirror and hear how they talk about their body and we can unknowingly take that on.
I think there are not enough places for young women to talk about their body in an honest and open way and feel safe about it. So many people walk around feeling badly about themselves, comparing themselves to others around them and what they see on TV and in the media, and feeling that they are wrong or bad because they don’t fit into an idea of beauty that has been created to sell products.
What can people do to improve their body image?
I think the first important steps are really working on self-love and self-care, and then tapping into resources that will help you stay grounded, stay present and give you perspective. Self-love is a process. Every culture and community has some sort of sense of a level of perfection. Whether it’s intellectual, financial or physical. We all know there’s no such thing as perfection and yet I think we still hold onto this idea that we need to reach an end point. In terms of body image and body relationship and health, it’s important to remember that it’s a process, this is always in flux. It’s going to look different for everybody. And it’s going to be different as we go through different stages of life. If people try to achieve this ‘goal’ state, and they’re not able to keep it up, they feel wrong, and that can create self-loathing .
One problem is that in life we set really rigid goals, even though we are constantly changing and so are our lives.
One problem is that in life we set really rigid goals, even though we are constantly changing and so are our lives. And this goal might be something we think we should do, or something that is expected of us, rather than what we want to do or need to do. By pursuing these rigid goals we often compromise ourselves on the way.
What brought you to coaching?
In London I’d been working as a curator, which I loved, but I started feeling burnt out and realised I wasn’t fulfilled in my work everyday. There was a lot of pressure from living in the city and the lifestyle I was leading. I was following a few people I admired on social media who had a focus on health, wellness and spirituality and I found out that they all started as coaches. I have always been someone who people would open up to and look to for support, so I started thinking more seriously about it. In 2014 I did a course in Transformational Life Coaching and I’m now beginning to practise full time.
I’ve worked with clients on a variety of topics, from changing careers and moving cities to becoming more fit or to leaving a partner. What I like about coaching is that it focuses on empowerment, providing space for the client to tap into their own strength, personal awareness and resources.
What is your approach to coaching?
I want to have a holistic approach. I’m interested in many different healing modalities that compliment one another. I became a Reiki level 2 healer, and I’d love to incorporate that into my practice. I’m also interested in herbal medicine, and Ayurveda. My aim is to build a network of strong, empowered people who have a deep knowledge about different modalities to approach physical, emotional and spiritual health so that we can work together and collaborate.
Most importantly I want to support my clients through self discovery as they become more deeply connected to how they want to feel everyday. There’s no right or wrong. Discovering a deeper sense of connectivity within yourself, with your intuition, your creativity, and your relationships can lead to a deeper sense of fulfillment and joy!
For more information on Transformational Coaching with Alexandra Terry click here.
Don’t set yourself rigid goals – be flexible as you change and focus on health, happiness and self-love instead of perfection.